By: Progress for Westhampton Beach
In attendance were Victor Levy, Chair of the Planning Board and Ralph Neubauer member of the Planning Board; Gerard Piering, Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) together with Jim Badzik and Joe Musnicki both members of the ZBA; Greg Minasian, Chair of the Architectural Review Board (ARB), and Laurette Lizak and Marion Covello both members of the ARB.
Kyle Collins, the Village Planner, was unable to attend, but has agreed to submit written comments on the Nelson Pope & Voorhis proposal. Mr. Collins advised the Mayor and Planning Board Chairman, Victor Levy, that the demands of his employment with the Town of Southampton prevent him from undertaking the thorough review of the Comprehensive Plan personally.
The meeting was a good start. Bringing together members of the four boards: Trustees, Planning, ZBA and ARB promotes the sharing of information that often remains in separate silos. There is a lot more to be done.
The existing Comprehensive Plan gives primacy to a thriving B-1 district that is pedestrian friendly. In this plan anything in the B-2 and B-3 districts that might compete with business in the B-1 is to be avoided. Nonetheless, an examination of the zoning map shows there is a Hotel District on the west side of Old Riverhead Road and on Montauk Highway from Old Riverhead Road to Depot Road.1)Now before the Planning Board for approval for construction of a 48 condominium units in this Hotel District.
Village Code §197-16.3 Hotel District (added 2/14/2000)
The Hotel District is intended to provide for reasonably sized and scaled transient lodging facilities appropriate to the Village’s needs. The Hotel District is intended to support the Village’s other land uses, strengthening their customer base, while also providing the temporary visitor with accessible accommodations in modern facilities. The Hotel District is also intended to accommodate a moderate number of reasonable and expected accessory uses. Other compatible uses are senior citizen housing and assisted-living (congregate-care) housing developments.
Doesn’t a Hotel District provide the pedestrians and consumers who would support the B-1 district? At the same time, such a use in the B-1 district would require water treatment. Is our objective to further support or to restrict the B-1 district? How much does the B-1 District contribute to the tax base for the village, town and school district? How much more could it contribute if the infrastructure supported the B-1 District? Would this result in a net gain for the village if a sewer system is installed to service the B-1 District, not only in tax revenues, but in both the greater availability of convenient public accommodations and the enhanced water quality in Moniebogue Canal?
The same could be said for the Multifamily District zone that was adopted for the property where the asphalt plant is currently located at the north end of Rogers Avenue. What kind of quality multifamily housing would be built next to the Long Island Railroad tracks and between the south ends of Gabreski runways 24 and 19? We already have Multifamily Districts for the Patio Villas, the Harbour House and Westhampton Landings.
A review of the Comprehensive Plan may not change the objective of the plan but it is certainly time for fully informed, candid, discussions about the future of our village and the Comprehensive Plan we want to have to be prepared for that future.
The meeting adjourned at 9:00. To be continued…
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